Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Supporting Mental Health

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Supporting Mental Health

Article excerpt

With three children in every classroom suffering from a diagnosable condition, schools need to ensure that they are making reasonable adjustments

A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, released in May this year, found that three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition (bit.ly/reportIPPR). Some 90 per cent of heads reported an increase in mental health problems in their pupils over the past five years, while hospital admissions for self-harm in under-18s increased by 50 per cent in the same period.

Nowhere is the crisis in young people's mental health felt more acutely than in schools.

The Department for Education published updated advice in March, which sought to clarify schools' responsibilities and outline how to support pupils whose behaviour - be it disruptive, withdrawn, anxious or depressed - might be related to an unmet mental health need.

Schools also have duties relating to the Equality Act 2010 and the duty to make "reasonable adjustments". A person has a disability if: they have a physical or mental impairment; and the impairment has a substantial and long-term (ie, likely to last more than a year) adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal activities.

A school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities if they are placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled peers. This can be triggered in a broad range of circumstances. It may be necessary to adjust behaviour policies, attendance requirements, and curriculum expectations for a pupil who has a diagnosed mental health need, or is presenting with behaviours consistent with such a need. …

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